Diaper Rash/Nappy Rash

Even the best and most careful of parents may one day go to change a fussy baby and be startled by the sight of a bright red, possibly spotty little bottom. No need to panic, most diaper rashes can easily be treated, and clear up in two to three days.

Causes of Diaper Rash

  • Diaper or nappy rash is caused by heat and moisture. Wet or dirty diapers left on too long are the usual culprits.
  • Diapers that are too tight to let air in,or chafe baby's skin.
  • Diarrhea that is acidic and will irritate the skin.
  • The introduction of new and acidic foods (citrus or tomatoes for example) will sometimes cause diaper rash, but will often just cause a redness around the anus.
  • A fungal infection such as Candida shows up in the deep folds of a baby's skin. It is bright red with an obvious border and there may be small red spots near the larger patches.

Prevention and Treatment of Diaper Rash

  • Keep your baby's skin clean and dry by changing diapers frequently.
  • Always wash baby's bottom at every diaper change. Use plain warm water, or if soap is needed, use a very mild soap and rinse with water afterwards. Pat baby dry, don't rub.
  • Make sure the diapers are not too tight or chafing the baby's skin.
  • Allow the baby to go without a diaper when possible to let the air dry the skin.
  • Use zinc ointment or petrolatum (such as Vaseline) to protect your baby's skin from moisture.
  • If you use cloth diapers, use a moisture-wicking liner to keep baby's skin dry or change to disposable diapers.
  • Avoid plastic pants - they hold in the moisture.
  • Introduce new foods one at a time so that you can tell if a particular food is causing a problem. Breastfeeding moms should also be aware that the food they eat can sometimes cause diarrhea in their babies.

If the rash is not starting to clear up in three days, if the baby has a fever or the redness looks more like a Candida infection, see your family doctor. He or she can prescribe a medication to apply to the skin and rule out any other causes.


Sources: www.Caring for Kids.cps.ca (Canadian Pediatric Society)
www.Familydoctor.org American (Academy of Family Physicians)
www.drgreene.org (Alan Greene FAAP)

Disclaimer: This short overview of diaper rash should not be taken as medical advice and may not apply to everyone. Please always consult your family physician for medical advice and treatment.

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